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Conflict Over Emission Targets For Industries

Reuters in Makuhari, Japan – Updated on Mar 17, 2008

The top greenhouse-gas-emitting nations yesterday backed UN-led efforts to forge a global pact to fight climate change but disagreed on suggestions that specific emission targets be set for individual industries.

G20 nations, which include the US, China, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, held three days of talks near Tokyo to discuss ways to tackle emissions.

Some G20 delegates voiced concern over Japan’s proposal for sectoral caps for polluting industries.

Japan wants top polluters to assign near-term emissions targets for each industrial sector which, added up, would then form a national target. But it was unclear if this target would be mandatory or voluntary and developing nations said the scheme needed to take into account their individual circumstances.

“It is clear that developed and developing countries are still far apart on sectoral approaches,” said South African environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Ailun Yang of Greenpeace China said developing countries objected to the Japanese idea of abandoning binding targets for rich nations by just setting their own targets based on sectors. She said it was opposed by China, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Spain and South Korea.

Indonesia called for more funding and the transfer of clean energy technology to make a sectoral approach work. “The goal is the same for developed and developing countries, but there are big differences in thinking,” said Japanese Trade Minister Akira Amari.

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